It’s pretty rare for us to get really fired up about a chain restaurant, but we recently came across a great new spot in town that’s worth getting excited about. Robeks Fresh Juices and Smoothies is a franchise chain that was started in 1995 in Los Angeles. The idea was to provide healthy on-the-go food options at a time when smoothies were much harder to come by than they are now. Now, you can find smoothie and juice places all over town. But up until recent years, smoothies and fresh juices were mostly enjoyed by athletes and “health nuts.” There weren’t as many places to get healthy smoothies and juices as there are now. So, Robeks set out to change that, serving up hand-crafted smoothies and fresh juices to the masses. And that’s just what they have ended up doing. They have grown and expanded tremendously since their first franchise opened. Our local Robeks just opened in Neptune Beach at Atlantic Blvd & Seminole Rd last week. I had been following along with the store’s progress on their Instagram account for a while and couldn’t wait to give them a try.
We stopped by in the morning and were greeted right away. They have an extensive menu and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted. There are a ton of smoothie options, a wide variety of add-ins to suit any taste or health need you might have, a lot of healthy snack items, and also a build-your-own juice bar. There are a lot of choices and a lot of different ways to customize each choice. Luckily, the owner was incredibly helpful in explaining a few things on the menu and steering us towards something we would like. We decided to try a Hummingbird Smoothie ($4.29 for a small), a PB&J Delight Smoothie ($3.89 for a kids’ size), and a Split Banana Smoothie Bowl ($6.89). We were excited to learn that we could get a $3 off discount just by signing up for their rewards program on their app. That was a big bonus and a great incentive for us to try a couple different things.
Robeks – Menu
The Hummingbird Smoothie was delicious. It’s a blend of mango, banana, strawberries, orange sherbet, and passion fruit juice. It was refreshing and had a nice tropical taste to it. The orange was a nice way to tie all the other flavors together. And the smooth consistency was just perfect…no big chunks of ice like I’ve gotten in the past at other smoothie places. The Hummingbird Smoothie is listed on the menu as a “Fan Favorite” and I can certainly see why. It was a really tasty smoothie that even my kids liked.
Robeks – Hummingbird Smoothie
The PB&J Delight was also a big hit with the kids. This is one that is listed on the kids’ menu, but to my surprise, I really enjoyed it too. True to its name, the PB&J really did taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The combination of peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, and raspberry juice added up to a delicious smoothie that reminded me of one of my favorite childhood comfort foods. This is a smoothie I would definitely order again.
Robeks – Juice Bar
The real treat of our visit was our Smoothie Bowl. Robeks added smoothie bowls to their menu just a couple years ago and they have ended up being really popular. Their claim is that they can turn any smoothie on the menu into a smoothie bowl. We picked the Split Banana Bowl and it was great. It was much thicker and creamier than a smoothie that you would drink. Soy milk blended with Greek yogurt and frozen bananas made for a silky, creamy ice cream-like treat. The chocolate syrup and shredded coconut topping made it even more decadent. Sure, this probably wasn’t the healthiest option, but it was delicious. And it was a large portion. Depending on the ingredients chosen, one of Robeks’ smoothie bowls could easily be a healthy and filling full meal.
Robeks – Smoothie Bowl
Aside from the fact that our smoothies and smoothie bowl were delicious, the store itself was beautiful. It was bright and clean and cheery. The colors and decor are modern and fresh. Unfortunately, there was a definite lack of seating inside the store. There were two tables with chairs outside on the sidewalk, but inside the store, there were only four barstools for seating. That’s it. Now I realize that most people who come into Robeks are probably grabbing their smoothies or juice and taking them to go. I get that. But a couple more comfortable seating options inside would have been nice. It definitely would have encouraged us to stay a little longer and enjoy their gorgeous store.
Robeks – Atlantic Blvd & Seminole Rd
The excellent and attentive customer service more than made up for the small negative of the seating issues. I don’t know if I have ever had such awesome customer service at a chain eatery. Everyone was incredibly polite, helpful, and eager to please. Not only were we greeted warmly by every single person working while we were there, but everyone engaged us in actual conversation. And they were all so enthusiastic and genuinely interested in what they were doing. Chain or not, you just don’t get that in a lot of restaurants. It was a pleasant surprise.
Robeks – Amazing Staff
Smoothies, smoothie bowls, wraps, juices…Robeks certainly has a lot of healthy, customizable options. And we will definitely be going back to try out some other menu items. But what will really keep people coming back will be that great customer service. The store is brand new and everything is fresh and exciting for those working there. If the staff can keep up that same level of commitment and stellar service and keep serving up tasty healthy treats, Robeks will no doubt have a ton of success at their new Jacksonville location.
For this review we welcome a member of our own JRR family: Rhonda Kovar is a former call center manager turned stay-at-home mom. She grew up in the heart of North Carolina and moved to Florida after getting hitched in 2002. She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a lover of all things crafty, musical, or edible. Rhonda loves finding new and delicious ways to turn her two tiny picky eaters into future foodies. You can follow her on Instagram.